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FEATURE / RENÉ CONNELLY              Whether you follow the
                                        spiritual path of yoga
ITMYTTAOHATKEGTOEI!                     or apply the somewhat
                                        tricky poses that result
  18 | APRIL / MAY 2016 CEMAIR SKYNEWS  in a pretzel-like stance
                                        for physical betterment,
                                        many people of limber
                                        persuasion are hitting
                                        the yoga mats all across
                                        the globe. The experts in
                                        etymology are divided as
                                        to the true meaning of
                                        the term but two schools
                                        of thought have agreed
                                        to disagree. According
                                        to Dasgupta (author of
                                        Yoga – As Philosophy and
                                        Religion), the term yoga
                                        can be derived from either
                                        of two roots, yujir yoga (to
                                        yoke) or yuj samādhau
                                        (to concentrate). It is
                                        agreed that yoga has its
                                        roots in both Hinduism
                                        and Buddhism and many
                                        references to it can be
                                        found in their ancient texts.
                                        Whichever school of yoga
                                        you follow, the goal is said
                                        to be liberation.

                                        Yoga came to the attention of
                                                   an educated western public

                                                   in the mid-19th century along

                                                   with other topics of Indian

                                        philosophy. Apart from the spiritual

                                        goals, the physical postures of yoga

                                        are used to alleviate health problems,

                                        reduce stress and make the spine

                                        supple in contemporary times. Yoga

                                        is also used as a complete exercise

                                        programme and physical therapy

                                        routine. Purists such as Andrea R.

                                        Jain, argue that yoga is undoubtedly

                                        a Hindu movement for spiritual

                                        meditation, yet is now being marketed

                                        as a supplement to a cardio routine

                                        and insists that this scope “dilutes

                                        its Hindu identity.” Through the ages

                                        yoga has had its fair share of both

                                        protagonists and antagonists. In recent

                                        years it has drawn support from world

                                        leaders such as Barack Obama who

                                        stated, “Yoga has become a universal
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